Cairns or Port Douglas?

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Jul 11th, 2000, 06:06 AM
  #1
Judy
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Cairns or Port Douglas?

We are staying in Sydney and would like to see the GRB for a few days. I want to know if Cairns or Port Douglas is the better place to experience the reef? I would like to stay somewhere that has a nice beach and I have read the Cairns does not have good beaches. We will be there the first week of October and I hear that the jellyfish are there then. Will this prevent us from swimming off of the beaches? If we stay in PD would it be better to take a bus there from Cairns or to rent our own car? We can only spend about 3 days there. I hear the Lady Elliot island is a great place to snorkel. Would it be better and cheaper for us to go there instead? Are there any cheap but nice places (B&B's) to stay in in Cairns or PD? Thanks for the help!
Judy
 
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Jul 11th, 2000, 09:03 AM
  #2
Paul S
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Hi Judy,

Regardless of whether you stay in Cairns or Port Douglas you will have to take a cruise boat out to the GBR. So really it comes down to Beaches and Cairns does not have a good beach, you need to go up to Port Douglas to get them.

You will need to be wary of Box Jellyfish at that time of year. Some places actually net the beaches for them but that is not a guarantee that you wont get stung. Best to use your resorts pool.

Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave Islands lay off the coast of Bundaberg in Qld and are at the southern end of the GBR.
I have snorkelled there and it is fantastic snorkelling in the coral lagoon of Lady Musgrave Island however there is no accommodation on Lady Musgrave Island. There is accommodation on Lady Elliot Island and there are guided reef walks as well as scuba diving and snorkelling and I believe there are 3 day packages available for Lady Elliot Island. It wont cost as much to get to Lady Elliot Island compared to going to Cairns or Port Douglas. I think you will find Lady Elliot Island less touristy and more pristine than Cairns and Port Douglas.
You will have to fly to Brisbane from Sydney and then to Bundaberg and take a boat from there to the Island.

I used to have a house on the coast there and know the islands pretty well. I think you would appreciate what the area has to offer.

Hope this helps.
 
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Jul 11th, 2000, 09:08 AM
  #3
Louise
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If you go to "Text Search" and/or "Topic Search" above you will find information from many previous postings. It is true that Cairns does not have good beaches but if you go north or south a short distance you will find lovely beaches. I think you will be fine as far as jellyfish are concerned in the first week of October as they usually appear with the start of the rainy season which is a little later. If there are jellyfish you can only swim in the netted off areas. You can take a bus very easily to PD which might be preferable if you don't intend to do a lot of running around. Have a great trip!
 
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Jul 11th, 2000, 03:09 PM
  #4
Matt
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Jellyfish are not around in the first week of October - more like November to May. Port Douglas is a far more attractive place to stay. The beach is great and it has its own Marina for Reef trips. Buses meet you at Cairns airport for the 1-hr drive to Port Douglas. You can rent cars from Port Douglas.
Try www.pddt.com.au or
www.great-barrier-reef.com for accommodation options.
 
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Jul 12th, 2000, 09:49 AM
  #5
Jen
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Port Douglas - and rent a car so you can explore the rainforest too! You can find some less expensive hotels in town, and it's a cute place to make your GBR base. Great beach too.
 
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Jul 12th, 2000, 11:33 PM
  #6
marg
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Cairns is on mud flats - Port Douglas has beautiful beaches. Hire a car and drive from Cairns to Port Douglas (this drive is really spectacular) and use it as your base to explore the area. On your way, divert to have a look at Palm Cove - nice little resort area with good beach, restaurants etc.
Do a boat trip along the Daintree River (watch for the crocodiles). Go to Mossman Gorge. Take time to drive to Kuranda (check for market days) and have a look at the Atherton Tableland.
Have a great holiday.
 
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Jul 22nd, 2000, 09:34 PM
  #7
stephanie
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Port Douglas is a much nicer town than Cairns...but I was not all that impressed with the beach there (I arrived there after experiencing the beaches of Western Australia so I was a bit spoiled) But whether you choose P.D. or Cairns you may want to consider this:if it is beaches you are after, you may want to look into some day trips out to an island...Low Island from P.D., Green Island, or Fitzroy from Cairns...also, remember that the GBR is actually an hour and a half boat trip from the shore so you will need to book day snorkeling/diving trips to actually experience the reef! Have a great time!
 
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Jul 26th, 2000, 06:45 AM
  #8
Hans
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I second the advice of taking a diving/snorkeling trip to the GBR. I've learned diving at Cairns and we spent three days on a small ship as part of the course. An incredible experience. In case that it is possible to fit this into your itinary, I can highly recommend it.

 
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Jul 31st, 2000, 08:37 PM
  #9
J Madel
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Just got back from Port Douglas and would highly recommend it over Cairns, which is just a small city without the character of PD. The CBD of Port Douglas is essentially about three or four blocks on one main street.

We took a snokeling trip on a small boat out of Port Douglas and thought it was fantastic. I would definitely rent a car to get around to the other sites in the area or to go into the town if you do not stay in the town itself. Four Mile Beach there was great, but you'll have to ask others if the jellyfish would be a problem in October.
 
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